Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

China as Data Coloniser or White Knight? Rethinking Cultural Mediation and Consumer Agency on Kenyan and Chinese E-Commerce Platforms  
Tommy Tse (University of Amsterdam) Nanne Van Noord (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

Has China become a neo-coloniser of Africa? Existing scholarship largely focuses on China’s infrastructural expansion. By critically analysing the China-Africa networks of fashion e-commerce and consumption, we dissect the neglected dialectical platform trade practices and Kenyan consumer agency.

Paper long abstract:

Africa’ e-commerce industry is often considered to have the greatest potential for further development, with its revenue reaching US$16.5 billion in 2017 and US$29 billion expected by 2022 (Li and Bode, 2021: 48). China appears to be the most ambitious player, with African infrastructure investments from 2011 to 2016 averaging US$12 billion per year. Has China become a neo-coloniser exporting its cultural and economic power to the world? Or has China actually become a white knight who enables “South-South cooperation,” leading to co-dependent economic growth and cultural exchange? Existing scholarship largely focuses on how China’s technological and infrastructural expansion can achieve its ambitions abroad. Yet, how China’s power is manifested, negotiated or resisted in people’s daily life in a South-South setting remains underresearched and undertheorised.

Couldry and Mejias (2019) coined the term “data colonialism” to describe how the global tech giants (e.g. Amazon, Alibaba, Google) capture everyday social acts through algorithmic means and convert them into quantifiable data for the generation of profit. However, Mumford (2022) argues data colonialism theory’s primary concern has not gone far enough to prompt a “decolonial shift in thinking”; it inadequately engages with, or at times utterly neglects, the relevant Southern scholarship (Moosavi, 2020).

By critically analysing the China-Africa networks of fashion trade and consumption on e-commerce platforms operating in the Kenyan market, we reevaluate the empirical validity of data colonialism, dissect the often neglected dialectical platform trade practices and African consumer agency, and uncover the complex dynamics and expressions of power involved.

Panel Anth19
Digital public infrastructure and the future of African statehood: South-South circulations of new techno-imaginaries [CRG Africa in the World]
  Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -